Staff

Fr Dominic Howarth
Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Formation
Gabriella Fusi
Pilgrimages and Events Co-Ordinator
Joe Beattie
Retreats, Hospitality and Facilities Co-ordinator, Walsingham House

“Welcome to the House. This is my third year as the Retreats, Facilities and Hospitality Co-ordinator, and it is a truly wonderful job.

I’m originally from the Parish of Our Lady and All Saints Basildon, and I was 15 when I first came to Walsingham House on Canvey as part of a Confirmation retreat with the parish.  I was really inspired, and I spent a volunteer gap year on the 2013-14 Team. I then completed a law degree at Nottingham University and before moving to Abbotswick I spent a year working for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

The time of the Covid-19 Pandemic is tricky for us all, but (as I write this in September 2020) we are looking forward to working with young people in their schools during this term, and then hope to be welcoming school and parish groups back to Walsingham House very soon. During Lockdown we worked alongside Basildon Council so that the House could serve a temporary women’s refuge for those fleeing domestic violence. We also live streamed daily Mass from our chapel for several months as well as hosting our first every ‘fully virtual’ Lourdes pilgrimage, “Lourdes in your Living Room.”

We also took time to develop the grounds, including planting 100 trees donated by the Woodland Trust, that will become a haven for wildlife in the years ahead.

Over the past several months, I have really developed my love of gardening and when not on retreat, I try to spend as much time in our beautiful grounds as I possibly can. I also really enjoy long walks in nature and cooking.”

Natalie Johnson
Administrator for Walsingham House and the BCYS
Georgia Sayer
Assistant Manager of Walsingham House

“Hello, I’m Georgia and I am delighted to have been appointed Assistant Manager after two years on the volunteer Team (2018-20). I am part of Holy Family Parish, Benfleet. Last year I visited El Salvador with The Romero Trust, which was an amazing experience, helping me to understand more about the country, and the life and martyrdom of St Oscar Romero.

On retreat, I most enjoy seeing young people discover fresh insights about their faith, and about who they are. When I was a teenager I experienced this for myself, and it is a great blessing to be able to offer the same opportunity for those who are teenagers now.

This year I am studying for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies with the Diocese of Brentwood. I enjoy skiing and baking; I love watching musicals, and I have collected a mug from every musical I have ever seen! I am the youth representative for the MetEast Region of HCPT-The Pilgrimage Trust, and I look forward to being able to return to Lourdes whenever that is next possible.”

Rachel Kwasnica
Assistant Manager of Walsingham House

Volunteers

Emily
Volunteer Team Member

“Hi! I’m Emily and I’m from Brentwood Cathedral Parish. I have just finished studying Psychology, Biology and Geography at A Level.

I am very passionate about the environment and how we can all do our bit for God’s creation, I am also a vegan so in my free time I love to cook and finding new dishes. I also love yoga and hope to train to be an instructor in the future. I am really excited to be a part of the Walsingham House team and over the year I hope to grow in faith and I look forward to working with young people on retreat.”

Mat
Volunteer Team Member

“Hi! My name is Mat and I’m from Christ the Eternal High Priest Parish in Gidea Park. I was a Student at Campion High School since Year 7 and I have just finished studying Religious Education, Biology and Chemistry at A-level.

I love Rugby, Archery and all things outdoors. Over the past few years I have really enjoyed my journey with the BCYS and Walsingham House and I look forward to helping other young people have the same experiences I did as well as helping them develop and grow in their faith.”

Beth
Volunteer Team Member

“Hi my name is Beth and I have just graduated from the University of Chichester with a degree in Theology. My home Parish is Corpus Christi, Collier Row and previously I attended Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School where I was first introduced to the BCYS and since then I have travelled to Lourdes every summer!

I really enjoy watching sports especially football, I am a huge West Ham fan and I recently became a season ticket holder. This year I have been given the opportunity to become a chaplain to the West Ham Women’s Academy team. I am really looking forward to the year ahead!”

Lewis
Volunteer Team Member

“Hi, my name is Lewis and I am from St. George and The English Martyrs Church in Shoeburyness. I am starting my second year on the Walsingham house team after studying A-levels in Geology, Geography and Maths at St Thomas More High School.

I really enjoy playing and watching multiple sports including Football, Cricket, Swimming and Tennis and am an avid Chelsea and F1 fan. I love to drive my car and I managed to pass my driving test first time (as opposed to many of my friends!). I have a deferred offer at Exeter University to study Geology from September 2022. I am looking forward to another amazing year at Walsingham House, further growing in my faith and as a person.”

Sophie
Volunteer Team Member

“Hello, my name is Sophie and I am delighted to be on the Walsingham House Team 2021-22! I am from the Parish of St Thérèse of Lisieux in Colchester where I am a member of the choir as well as being a Confirmation Catechist.

I have a passion for Social Justice and I am this years CAFOD ‘Step into the Gap’ volunteer. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people while educating myself on the global issues around the world and to fight for global justice. I hope to spend this year making a real impact and to inspire young people to do the same. I love musical theatre and I performed in the ‘Edinburgh Fringe Festival’ in 2018. I also enjoy reading, watching films and gardening. I am looking forward to working with many young people over the year and I hope I can take skills I learn at Walsingham House into the future as next September I will begin studying Primary Teaching at Brighton University.”

Olaolu
Volunteer Team Member

“Hi, my name is Olaolu and I am from St Dominic’s Parish, Harold Hill and I am a past Campion student, however I completed my A-level studies at Southend High School for Boys where I studied: Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Music Technology.

I have a passion for music, I play the bass guitar, double bass, have sung from a young age, produce music and love to DJ. I also co-create video content for ‘Raise a Voice’ which helps young people talk about current issues and ways to help. I am looking forward to helping young people understand more about their faith and how it can be part of their present and future.”